Raymond Mordi and Bisi Olaniyi, Benin
GOVERNOR Godwin Obaseki has been accused of blackmailing teachers in Edo State to support his re-election campaign as canvassers, or risk losing their salaries.
A source in the education sector told The Nation that the so-called “Edo Teachers’ Mega Rally for Obaseki”, scheduled to hold in Benin City on Wednesday, was being stage-managed by the Obaseki Campaign Organisation to give the impression that teachers were in support of his re-election.
The source said Obaseki should leave teachers alone because his ‘Edo BEST’ educational policy had failed.
The source added that the state had recorded the worst results in common entrance examinations under the governor in the last three and a half years.
A directive from the education authorities mandated teachers to report at the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), the take-off point for the rally, with two passport photographs and permanent voter cards (PVCs), by 11am on Wednesday.
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The memo said: “This is to inform teaching and non-teaching workers that the long-awaited rally is scheduled to take place in Benin City on September 9.”
The directive enjoined teachers to come along with their “Edo BEST” blue T-shirts and their tabs.
Other workers were also asked to come with their T-shirts and technological gadgets.
The source condemned the domineering attitude of the government in turning teachers into canvassers for the governor’s second term bid on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform.
Our correspondent in Benin City yesterday saw the teachers close to the House of Assembly complex, putting up appearance under the downpour.
Obaseki, in his reaction through his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said the allegation was false, adding that his convincing all-round performance in the past four years had earned him an organic following among Edo people and the electorate.